Provoking friction?

With political news and commentary increasingly taking a breather as July draws to a close, reports about celebrity marriages and liaisons, Athens nightlife and the comparative merits of holiday destinations have taken over our television screens. When there is a dearth of political news, one can rely upon two subjects to spur debate and attract viewers: foreign women «stealing» Greek men and gay marriages… The first issue is one which has featured on countless talk shows after an increasing number of Greek men have visited neighboring Balkan countries to find a wife. These foreign women have a certain «servility which appeals to the Easterner hidden in every Greek man,» a so-called expert tells a talk-show audience. At this point, a Greek woman calls in to speak of her «traumatic experience» of losing her husband to a foreign woman. This is followed by outpourings of compassion, criticism and psycho-babble. Another timeless topic is gay marriages. Televised debates on the subject invariably bring together a human rights crusader, an outraged cleric, a representative of the gay community, an aggressive homophobe and an ostensibly moderate peacemaker. Needless to say, it is impossible for such controversial subjects to be effectively addressed in a brief TV debate. Moreover, all such shows end up doing is alienating foreigners, gays and other minority groups…

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